Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has more wins than anyone in college hoops history, insisted Thursday that increased time with family, not old age or health, prompted his decision to retire.
The upcoming 2021-22 season will be his last campaign running the storied Blue Devils basketball program, the university previously said. Krzyzewski (pronounced shuh-SHEF-ski) said health, age, the changing landscape of college basketball and continuing challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic were not the main factors in this move.
“I always felt that you, you would know when to stop if you weren’t ready to do all the things necessary to do what you do,” Krzyzewski told reporters at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “I want to use some of the things that I have to prepare for, that time, with them (family members).”
The 74-year-old basketball legend, known as “Coach K,” said he and his wife have been discussing his potential retirement for the past few years.
“The reason we’re doing this is because Mickie and I have decided the journey is going to be over in a year,” he said. “And we’re going after it (another national title) as hard as we possibly can.”
Throughout his hourlong meeting with reporters, Krzyzewski continually used the word “lucky” to describe the opportunities handed to him by teachers, family and employers.
“I’ve been a very lucky guy. I mean a really lucky guy,” he said. “I wanted to be coach. I wanted to be teacher. And that’s what I’ve been.”
He added: “The best opportunities are the opportunities that are backed up with belief.”
Duke administrators said they were looking forward to the Blue Devils making a final run in the annual NCAA Tournament known as “March Madness.”
Krzyzewski said he hopes to have more than a win or two in March. He’s banking on six more NCAA Tournament games: “It’s not about having a run. It’s about having a finish.”
Duke President Vincent Price said he couldn’t articulate Krzyzewski’s contributions to the school in Durham, North Carolina.
“We let the numbers do the talking for us,” Price said before rattling off the list of accomplishments. “Mike has been resolutely and zealously committed to Duke University.”
Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 97 NCAA Tournament wins, 12 Final Fours, 12 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles, 15 ACC Tournament crowns and five national championships.
Athletic Director Kevin White simply called him the best coach in the game’s history.
“Mike, you are the G.O.A.T.,” he said, using the acronym for “greatest of all time.” “There are no words to account for what will be 42 magical years.”
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